On our shores tomorrow, more than 4,000 volunteers from 70 groups and organisations will count, categorise and remove trash safely and efficiently on the accessible shoreline of Singapore.
Part of an annual worldwide effort, the International Coastal Cleanup takes place in 70-100 countries around the world and is Singapore’s largest and oldest environmental action programme. This is the 20th anniversary of the effort locally to raise environmental awareness about sustainability, pollution and the marine life in Singapore.
Last year more than 3,500 volunteers cleared more than 174,00 items in some 2,000 trash bags weighing almost 14 tonnes in just one morning! Importantly, they took home with them an awareness about local and global issues about marine pollution and ideas about contributing to solve this. The data is publicly accessible at: coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/results/2010.
ICCS has been coordinated by volunteers from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore for over a decade and through this all, we have been assisted by various officers on the ground in the National Parks Board and the National Environment Agency. We acknowledge their efforts here for their support has made ICCS so seamless that it is conducted quietly and efficiently every year without fanfare.
In this effort, our spirits must not fade as this requires a long-term, relentless effort. Amongst the 50-70 volunteer organisations who participate annually are passionate people and groups who have sustained their efforts and educated volunteers for a long time.
We will acknowledge them in a simple way during the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III (24 Sep 2011) which NUS is co-organising with NParks and they are:
- Raffles Girls Secondary School, Singapore American Middle & High Schools (20 years)
- Woodlands Ring Sec, NYP Geocouncil, Waterways Watch Society (11 years
- NUS Environmental Engineering, Oscar & Friends, Hai Sing Catholic School & NTU Earthlink (7-9 years).
We hope others take heart from their example.
The Guest of Honour for the symposium is Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, BG (Res) Tan Chuan Jin, who wrote in June,
“When we begin to care for different aspects in society, we will begin to grow as a people. What distinguishes us as humans is our capacity to love, care and respect. Which is why such avenues, be it with animals, our environment, and indeed with fellow humans…caring for the less privileged in society, respecting elders and being there for them in their twilight years…the spirit of volunteerism and to be involved… are critical in the building of our nation, and the forging of our heart and soul.”
The volunteer coordinating team of the ICCS conveys our thanks to NParks and NEA for their officers on the ground, who have assisted and supported our efforts all these years. They have made us feel encouraged, helped sustain our efforts, and worked with us towards common goals for betterment of society.
– From an email by ICCS Coordinator N. Sivasothi to NParks’ CEO Poon Hong Yuen & COO Leong Chee Chiew; NEA’s CEO Andrew Tan & DG Environmental Health Division Khoo Seow Poh.